Egypt youth movement denies ties with nude model

CAIRO - A youth movement that helped overthrow Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak now faces another battle - distancing itself from a woman who posted nude pictures of herself on a blog.

Alia al-Mahdy, who posted the pictures on her "Memoirs of a Revolutionary" blog, was reported to be a member of the April 6 group, which has clashed with the military rulers who took charge after Mubarak's February ouster.

The pictures led to a flurry of criticism on the social networking site Twitter, including concerns voiced by liberal activists that the nude photos would be used against them by their conservative opponents.

"This is yet another attempt by the National Security (agency) and the remnants of the old regime to smear us," an April 6 statement on Tuesday said.

In another email, the youth movement posted screen shots of Mahdy's Facebook account on which she denied being a member of the group.

For her part, Mahdy justified her pictures on her blog as freedom of expression.

"Try the nude models who worked in art faculties in the 1970s, hide art books and destroy nude artefacts," she wrote on her blog.

"Then strip and look at yourselves in the mirror and burn your bodies which you hate so you can rid yourselves of your complexes before directing your racist insults at me," she wrote.

Mahdy's pictures were extremely unusual in Egypt, where most Muslims and Christians disapprove of displays of nudity.